Bury St Edmunds Cathedral

St Edmundsbury Cathedral is the cathedral for the Church of England's Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. It is the seat of the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and is in Bury St Edmunds.


A church has stood on the site of the cathedral since at least 1065, when St Denis's Church was built within the precincts of Bury St. Edmunds Abbey. In the early 12th century the then Abbot, Anselm, tried to make a pilgrimage along the Way of St. James to Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. He was unsuccessful, so instead rebuilt St Denis's and dedicated the new church to Saint James, which served as the parish church for the north side of Bury St Edmunds.

This church was largely rebuilt, starting in 1503, with more alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries. When the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was created in 1914, St James Church was made the cathedral. In 1959 Benjamin Britten wrote the Fanfare for St Edmundsbury for a "Pageant of Magna Carta" held in the cathedral grounds.

From 1960 onwards, there was renewed building work designed to transform the parish church into a cathedral building, with the rebuilding of the chancel and the creation of transepts and side chapels. The architect for this work was Stephen Dykes Bower. In the cathedral grounds a new choir school and visitor's centre were built which were opened in 1990. A Gothic revival tower was built between 2000 and 2005.


In addition to guided tours of the cathedral itself, visitors can view changing exhibits of art in the Edmund Gallery, and an exhibit of historic and religious regalia and artifacts in the Cathedral Treasures display. The painting "The Martyrdom of St Edmund" by artist Brian Whelan hangs in the Lady Chapel.

Organ and organists

Details of the organ from the National Pipe Organ Register

  • 1896 Charles John Harold Shann
  • 1937 Edward Percy Hallam
  • 1958 Harrison Oxley
  • 1985 Paul Trepte
  • 1990 Mark Blatchly
  • 1993 Mervyn Cousins
  • 1997 James Thomas